Please Note: If you are an author or editor needing to prepare an index to your book or other publication, you may wish to consult our Indexer Locator, which lists professional indexers, their areas of expertise, and full contact information. Find the indexer best suited for your project.
Note: ASI does not endorse these products and makes no claims as to their effectiveness or suitability for any particular use.
The software tools used to generate indexes come in many flavors and varieties. Which technique is used depends on variables such as budget, eventual re-usability of the source material, time constraints, media used to publish the material, file sizes and transferral issues, and individual preferences. There are essentially six different methodologies for indexing:
- Standalone or Dedicated tools, usually used for back-of-the-book indexes, allow indexers to work from page-numbered galleys. The indexing is completely separate from the published material. Dedicated indexing tools are listed below.
- Embedded indexing is the process of creating index entries electronically in a document's files. The indexer inserts the index entries as invisible text in the electronic files. Although desktop publishing packages are not the best tools for indexing, they can be used to create effective embedded indexes. For technical documents that will be updated frequently or will go online, indexers can create embedded indexes that will help their audience find information quickly and efficiently. Some tools that allow for embedded indexing include FrameMaker, Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign (or the older PageMaker), Madcap Flare, and Quark Xpress. Markup languages that allow for embedding indexing include SGML, HTML, XML and TeX/LaTeX.
- Tagging allow indexing codes to be embedded in the electronic text after the indexing is complete. The indexer inserts numbered dummy tags in the files, and then builds the index separately. The final step uses macros to insert the indexing at each tag in the files. Many of these tools are developed in-house to fit the publishing group's needs..
- Keywording is used primarily in online help materials. It can be hard-coded jumps, similar to WWW links, or it can be inserted as embedded coding and built into a list by the software.
- Automated indexing software, a tool that now accompanies most word-processing software, build a concordance or a word list, from processed files. Although the manufacturers often claim these packages build indexes, the actual results are a list of words and phrases, sometimes useful in the beginning stages of building an index. Usability tests of these packages have shown that the word lists omit many key ideas and phrases, and cannot fine-tune terminology for easy retrieval, or build the needed hierarchies of ideas that professional indexing can.
- Free-text and weighted-text searching tools are not discussed in these pages, but are aspects of information retrieval that indexers are very interested in.
This list of dedicated software geared toward the needs of professional indexers is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all tools that indexers may use in the course of their work. ASI does not endorse any product.
CINDEX™ (for Windows, and Macintosh)
To learn about Cindex, purchase new licenses or upgrades, or request support, please visit the website.
Index Manager (for Windows and Macintosh)
Pilar Wyman, Regional Sales Manager, USA/Canada
Tel: (443) 336-5497
Macrex (for Windows)
Tel: +44 7802 210 207
Distribution and informal support for North America: Do Mi Stauber Indexing Service, firstname.lastname@example.org. Support also available at email@example.com.
Free download (effective 1 Feb 2022) with optional donation.
While dedicated indexing programs can be used in indexing web sites, these programs are specifically designed to aid indexers working with web sites and other HTML documents.
James Lamb has written a guide to using XRefHT32 titled: Website Indexes: visitors to content in two clicks, or website indexing with XRefHT32 freeware (2006). It can be purchased at: http://www.lulu.com/content/300848
- IndexConvert (Word add-in aids index import into Cindex, Macrex, Sky Index, Index-Manager, spreadsheets and databases)
- IndexExploit (Word add-in supports rapid location of indexed content in Word and PDF documents. It also supports Word embedded indexing including editing, debugging and in-situ re-sorting by reference to a stop word file.)
Various software add-ons for Microsoft Word, such as
- DEXter (for indexing in Word)
- DEXembed (embeds entries in Word from indexes created with dedicated indexing software)
- IndexDeconstructor (converts back-of-the-book indexes into a tab-delimited file for importing into indexing software)